In her report, at the end of a routine Eutaw City Council meeting on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, Mayor Latasha Johnson announced, “Our city finances are improving, we have paid the IRS lien; we have paid the Greene County Board of Education in full for the Carver School, which we are converting to the Robert H. Young Community Center; and we have paid the Industrial Development Authority in full (approximately $85,000) for a loan they made to us to extend the sewage line to the Love’s Truck Stop at Exit 40 on Interstate 20/59.
Mayor Johnson also reported that the city had been able to meet all requirements of the USDA Rural Development agency for the loan to improve the City’s water system. All required reserve accounts have been satisfied and the annual payment of $102,281.25 is available to pay this obligation on or before January 1, 2022.
“We have been able to get a better grip on our city finances, with the help of our financial consultant and a CPA that is doing our audits. The reason our finances are improving are three-fold, better staffing that has developed a budget and fiscal controls; better staffing of our water department which has reduced losses and increased collections; and the additional sales and gas tax revenues we have received, primarily from the
success of the Love’s Truck and Travel Center,” said Mayor Johnson.
“When we came into office, our finances were a mess and we could not tell if we were going to be able to pay our bills. IRS had a lien against all city property for past due employee taxes. We were able, during the year, to slowly get a handle on our finances. Reconcile and rearrange our bank accounts. Develop a budget to monitor our expenses. We also worked to straighten out the Water Department and collect unpaid bills. All these steps have placed our city in a better position to go forward, to seek grants and to provide basic services to our residents,” said Johnson.
The Council also voted to use $27,000 in unspent American Rescue Plan funds to provide a $542 incentive to each city employee who is fully vaccinated for the coronavirus. Employees must present evidence of vaccination to receive this year-end benefit.
In other actions, the Eutaw City Council, approved:
• Travel reimbursements for Police Chief Tommy Johnson, Municipal Judge Joshua Swords, and four city magistrates for attending various training sessions.
• The assignment and assumption of the garbage collection contract from Waste Away Group Inc. (Waste Management) to the Arrow Disposal Company.
• A rental agreement with the Tribe of Jacobs Ladder for one room at the R.H. Young Community Center.
• Use of the gym at the RH Young Community Center to Rev. McIntosh, BluePrint for Leadership Alabama on December 22, 2021.
• Holidays for city employees for Dec. 22 (half-day) and Dec. 23 and 24 for Christmas; and December 29 (half-day) and Dec. 30 and 31, for New Years.
• Paying all bills through December 31, 2021.
• Not holding a City Council meeting on the fourth Tuesday because of the holidays.